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Tibet Uprising Anniversary 2012: Report PDF Print E-mail
[15 March 2012] To mark the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising a series of events were held in London and around the UK. Tibetans and supporters called on over 100 MPs to support Tibetan freedom by lobbying at Westminster on 7 March and in local constituencies. Several hundred people attended actions in Edinburgh, Exeter and Northampton and on 10 March over 800 people took part in the Tibet Freedom March and Rally in central London.

Lobby  I  Wreath-laying  I  Freedom March  I  Rally  I  Local Events  I  Videos  I  Photos

Tibet Lobby 2012
Tibet Lobby 2012Over 100 MPs were lobbied by Tibetans and Tibet supporters as part of this year's Tibet Lobby. Over 200 people registered for the lobby, with most meeting their MP either at Westminster or in their local constituency.

On Wednesday 7 March the annual lobby took place at the Houses of Parliament in London. Nearly 50 Tibetans and supporters arrived to meet their MPs face-to-face and urge them to take action for Tibet. The MPs were asked to call on the British government to find a solution to the crisis in Tibet by working with other governments in a multi-lateral approach to demand China ends its repressive policies. MPs were also encouraged to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM 2715) condemning the Chinese government's crackdown on the Tibetan people and call on the Prime Minister to make a public statement of concern on the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet.

APPGT Drop-inAfter lobbyists met their MPs, they were invited to a special meeting with members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT). Lobbyists were able to ask questions of the members and discuss at length Tibet issues. Members of the APPGT have a special interest in Tibet and regularly raise matters with the Foreign Office and the government. Members attending included Fabian Hamilton MP (Chair of the APPGT), James Gray MP (Vice-Chair), Nic Dakin MP, Simon Hughes MP and Cathy Jamieson MP.

Note: It is not too late to participate in Tibet Lobby 2012. Meet you MP locally or write to him/her with your concerns. Please let us know of any response you receive from your MP as this helps us to monitor parliamentary support. Click here for info on how to lobby your MP.

Wreath-laying ceremony

Wreath-laying ceremonyPrior to the lobby at Westminster on 7 March there was a wreath-laying ceremony outside Westminster Abbey. Organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet and Tibet Society, Tibetans and Tibet supporters gathered in heavy rain to mark the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising and remember the victims of Chinas occupation of Tibet.

The short multi-faith service was led by Reverend Canon Robert Reiss, Sub Dean of Westminster Abbey and included Buddhist prayers by Geshe Tashi Tsering, Spritual Director of Jamyang Buddhist Centre. A wreath was laid by Fabian Hamilton MP (Chair of the APPGT), APPGT member Kate Hoey MP and Riki Hyde-Chambers, Chairman of Tibet Society.

At the end of the service Tibetans and Tibet supporters were invited to lay white roses in memory of the Tibetans in Tibet who have self-immolated in protest against China's brutal regime.

Tibet Freedom March
Tibet Freedom March 2012Over 800 Tibetans and Tibet supporters marched through central London on Saturday 10 March. Though the march was part of the events commemorating the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959, it had become, due to recent events, a protest march calling for an end to China's brutal crackdown in Tibet.

Protestors gathered opposite Downing Street prior to the march and chanted "Human rights before trade" as representatives of the organising coalition of UK-based Tibet groups delivered a letter to the Prime Minister. The letter called on David Cameron to make a public statement of concern on the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet and to urge China to ease tension by withdrawing its troops from Tibetan regions.

Tibet Freedom March 2012The march set off under partly cloudy skies from Downing Street heading towards the Chinese Embassy a couple of miles away. The route took the marchers past Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and the ever-busy shopping area of Oxford Street. Thousands of people watched the march pass through central London, with many clapping and offering their support. Some even joined the march, swelling the numbers even further.

At the head of the march a portrait of the Dalai Lama was carried by Tibetan monk Lama Lobsang and was followed by 25 Tibetans walking to a slow drum-beat, each carrying a photo of a Tibetan who has self-immolated in protest against China's rule in Tibet. Behind a large banner proclaiming "1950: Tibet Occupied By China. Free Tibet Now" participants proudly waved Tibetan flags and carried placards with slogans including "China: End the occupation of Tibet", "In solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet", "Tibetans demand freedom" and "China: Stop the crackdown in Tibet".
Watch video footage from the Freedom March

Tibet Freedom Rally
Tibet Freedom Rally 2012The march culminated with a rally outside the Chinese Embassy, with Tibetan prayers, speeches and Tibetan songs. The main speaker was Kate Hoey MP and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet. Ms Hoey called for action from the international community saying, "We in the world must bear witness, stand up and speak out for Tibetans' rights." She added, "The UK government should be taking the lead in finding justice for the Tibetan people."

Specifically, Ms Hoey urged Prime Minister David Cameron to "truly stand up for human rights and Tibetan rights" and "send a message to the Chinese government that their actions are unacceptable" which in turn would "send a message of hope" to the Tibetan people. She concluded by saying, "It is time to shine a light on China, it is time for all of us to speak out... Free Tibet!"

Excerpts from the Kalon Tripa's (Tibetan Prime Minister in exile) 10 March statement were read out and Lama Lobsang led Tibetan prayers remembering all the victims of China's occupation of Tibet. During the prayers khatags (traditional Tibetan ceremonial scarves) were offered to a montage of the 25 Tibetans who have self-immolated.

As part of the ongoing movement to promote Tibetan culture and identity, members of the Tibetan Community in Britain performed "Thundril: The Tibetan Song of Unity" which calls on Tibetans from the three traditional provinces of Tibet to stand up and unite.

Tibet Freedom Rally 2012Tsering Passang (pictured right) spoke on behalf of Tibetans originally from regions currently affected by China's crackdown but could not speak publicly for fear of recriminations on their families still in Tibet. Tsering said that resistance to China's oppressive policies amongst Tibetans in Tibet was strong, that they would never give up their fight for freedom and appealed for support from the public and international governments alike.

Pema Yoko, from Students for a Free Tibet UK, concluded the rally with a personal appeal for Tibetans and supporters to continue to call the Chinese government to account for their repressive policies in Tibet, to write to political leaders demanding action for Tibet and to continue their efforts to ensure that Tibetans are granted the universal right to freedom.

Following the rally representatives of the organising coalition attempted to deliver a letter to the Chinese Ambassador. As in previous years, embassy officials refused to take the letter, which was later posted. The letter calls on the Chinese government to properly address the grievances of the Tibetan people, which will only grow as long as the crackdown continues. Representatives from the coalition then laid 25 white roses outside the Chinese Embassy in memory of the Tibetans who have self-immolated.

Events in Edinburgh, Exeter and Northampton

Northampton flag-raisingOn 6 March, Northampton group Shine a Light for Tibet, organised an event at the Northampton Guildhall to mark the Uprising anniversary, which included a flag-raising ceremony, a meeting and traditional music. Mayor of Northampton, Jamie Lane, (pictured right) raised the Tibetan flag at the event which was attended by over 150 people.

In Exeter, on 10 March, Tibetans and Tibet supporters held an awareness-raising event outside the city's cathedral. Members of the public were encouraged to sign a petition to local MP Ben Bradshaw calling for support for Tibet from parliament, the government and the Prime Minister.

Edinburgh Peace WalkThe Edinburgh University Tibet Society organised a 'Peace Walk for Tibet' on 10 March. Over 100 people gathered in central Edinburgh to walk from The Mound by the National Gallery to the Chinese Consulate near Murrayfield. Prior to the march Alison Johnstone MSP spoke to the crowd saying that Tibet will gain its freedom, because like Scotland,  its people have "a vision (and) a desire that refuses to die". At the Consulate flowers and photos of those who have self-immolated were laid at the gates.


Videos of Tibet Freedom March and Rally in London
By Joe Briscoe
Part 1 (3m 29s)


Part 2 (3m 56s)


Part 3 (4m 25s)




Photos from Tibet Uprising Anniversary 2012

Tibet Freedom March 2012 Tibet Freedom Rally 2012 Tibet Freedom March 2012
Tibet Freedom March 2012 Wreath-laying ceremony APPGT Drop-in
Tibet Freedom March 2012 Tibet Freedom Rally 2012 Tibet Freedom March 2012

View more photos on facebook


Credits: Photos on this page from London events by Guy Bell (
www.gbphotos.com), Philippa Carrick, Paul Golding and Miriam Jones.


Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's events. Special thanks to all those who organised events and helped on the day.
If you have not already done so please lobby your MP.

Tibet Lobby 2012 and the Tibet Freedom March & Rally were organised by a coalition of UK-based Tibet groups comprised of Tibet Society, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Youth UK, Free Tibet and Tibetan Community in Britain.


Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).

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